How much can property buyers in France negotiate down prices in 2024?

An explosion in the number of homes on sale coupled with a drop in values - and looming new energy efficiency rules - is opening up opportunities

Hopeful buyers who are able to attain a mortgage are spoilt for choice

An explosion in the number of homes on sale and a drop in property values in many areas is allowing buyers to significantly negotiate down buying prices, according to new data from independent estate agents. 

The number of properties available to purchase in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the final quarter 2023 increased by an average 32% for the 8,500 estate agents that use La Boîte Immo software, the company which released the study said.

The number of homes on sale from independent estate agents in France rose from 337,000 in October 2023 to 498,000 in March 2024.

Other property listing sites such as Bien’Ici saw the number of listings rise by 18% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same time last year. 

Price drops nearly into double figures

This has coincided with a drop in property prices – which have fallen by an average 9% in the last six months for sales conducted by independent estate agents, says La Boîte Immo – and is putting power into the buyer’s hands. 

“Buyers are now spoilt for choice,” said the firm’s CEO Olivier Bugette, with “estate agents… receiving offers to place new homes on the market,” even as they struggle to sell ones currently listed. 

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This influx of properties means buyers can afford to be more demanding with what they are searching for, able to visit many locations and wait for a ‘perfect’ property instead of being rushed into a sale at a higher price.

In addition to the extra choice, buyers are able to demand significant price reductions and the lack of a bidding war is making some sellers desperate to push sales through.

Prices are reduced on average by 5.8% on current sales, although in some situations this is closer to 10%.

Read more: France’s property market sees greatest fall in sales for 50 years

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Smaller properties struggling to sell 

Certain property types in particular are being added to the market at a rapid rate, including smaller one and two-bedroom flats in larger towns and cities.

The number of these types of property being put up for sale has increased by 47% in the last six months, said Mr Bugette. 

This is mainly down to two reasons:

Firstly, and the biggest reason, is that the usual purchasing base for these properties – first-time buyers – are increasingly being locked out of the housing market.

More first-time buyers are being turned down for mortgages as interest rates rise and minimum deposit amounts hike, even as the sector tries to tackle the issue.

Read more: France eases mortgage rules to allow more loans of 27 years

In addition, another group usually interested in such properties – buy-to-rent landlords – are cautious to purchase with ’energy efficiency’ changes looming over the rules for renting out. 

Read more: Property energy rating system in France eased (a little)

They are unwilling to buy properties which will need renovations to be placed onto the market. 

Buyers able to attain a mortgage – and who are less bothered by energy efficiency ratings – have the pick of the field.